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INDIANAPOLIS – Following an appearance Thursday at the FFA state convention, Gov. Eric Holcomb took questions from reporters on Indiana’s COVID-19 vaccination rate and his ongoing legal battle with Attorney General Todd Rokita and the Indiana General Assembly.

Indiana lags in COVID-19 vaccinations compared to neighboring states. Holcomb said he has spoken with the governors of states that have created vaccine lotteries, including Ohio and Kentucky, but said he is still not considering one for Indiana.

“It seems to me that the closer we can get to different individuals around our respective states, the more effective it is,” Gov. Holcomb said.

Holcomb said he’s focused on getting the vaccine into more Indiana neighborhoods and working with community leaders to encourage vaccination instead of offering monetary incentives.

“It’s a slog, and it’s going to be a grind,” Holcomb said. “I can’t change reality. If there are some people who are just dead set against it, it’s their personal responsibility.”

Gov. Holcomb said he believes more Hoosiers will choose to get the shot once it gets full FDA approval.

Although he didn’t stop Indiana University’s vaccine mandate, Holcomb said he’s against public institutions like schools and universities requiring the vaccine.

“I do support private businesses making that call,” Holcomb said. “But not public institutions.”

Thursday marked our first time speaking with Holcomb since Wednesday’s hearing in Marion County Superior Court on Attorney General Todd Rokita’s motion to have the governor’s lawsuit against the Indiana General Assembly thrown out.

The state’s chief executive and chief law enforcement officer are at odds over whether Holcomb can hire his own lawyers to try to stop a new law that allows the legislature to call itself into special session during an emergency.

When asked how he would describe his relationship with Rokita, Holcomb said, “We’re friends. We have an honest disagreement about a constitutional issue.”

Repeating his stance made earlier this year on the issue, Holcomb added, “I’m not against whatsoever the legislature coming back and dealing with this. One, I’d call them back. Two, I offered that. Three, there’s a constitutional amendment process that’s pretty clear to me. I also recognize that I don’t have a law degree, and if others disagree with that, so be it, and we’d settle it one way or another. And we will.”

Holcomb wasn’t in the courtroom for Wednesday’s hearing but said he’s feeling “pretty good” about his chances of succeeding.

“I am blessed with good legal representation,” Holcomb said. “And we’ll let the hearings play out.”